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DECEMBER 2012 VOL 37 No. 12

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Your Serve


Aces & Places


My Game


My Coach







Lle yton and fiercel y-competitive atching the ultra-talented er, it tennis spotlight as a teenag Hewitt surge into the world man tes sta er e he’ d become an eld was hard to picture the tim rld wo the former that’s wh at’s transpired as in Australian tennis . And yet sional career ark spirit to save a profes No.1 battled with his tradem ries . threatened by lingering inju case, as t was always likely to be the tha , In hindsight, of course in doubt. n tralian tennis has never bee Hewitt’s commitment to Aus 33rd time – countr y in Germ any for the He recently represented his vided the chance Hewitt record but also pro which wasn’ t just another who can benefit with the younger pla yers to strengthen relationships from his vast experience. stent that having s to admire, with Hewitt insi There’s a lot for those player well beyond a battles, his career will extend finally overcome his injury mer. It’s not Open appearance this sum 17th consecutive Australian about the milestone Marinko Matosevic speaks surprising, really, that when but graciously add -ranked man he can’t help of becoming Australia’s top No.1.” playing I consider him to be that “as long as Lleyton is evic himself, who of inspiration from Matos Not that there’s any lack and had to earn a ranked outside the top 200 at this time last year was h the Australian opening Grand Slam throug wil dcard into the season’s Melburnian has a r achieving that feat, the Open Pla y-off. A year afte st improved ledgement as the ATP ’s mo top-50 ranking, peer acknow ces s in 2013. suc r solid springboard for fur the pla yer this season and a wdown at testing the December Sho The young Australians con y work to take e many role model s as the hav nth mo this k Par e urn Melbo t’s Hewitt, Matosevic, ying careers – whether tha the next steps in their pla worked hard to earn other Australians who’ve Sam Stosur or any of the fes sional tennis . gly competitive world of pro their place in the increasin




Vivienne Christie Alan Trengove Daniela Toleski Andrea Williamson Breanna Kray Daniel Heathcote Getty Images, John Anthony (All photographs by Getty Images unless specified) Getty Images

Australian Tennis Magazine is published monthly by TENNIS AUSTRALIA LTD, Private Bag 6060, Richmond, Vic 3121. Ph: (03) 9914 4200 Email: Distributed by Network Distribution Company Printed in Australia by Webstar The views expressed in Australian Tennis Magazine are not necessarily those held by Tennis Australia. While the utmost care is taken in compiling the information contained in this publication, Tennis Australia is not responsible for any loss or injury occurring as a result of any omissions in either the editorial or advertising appearing herein.


AustrAliAn tennis MAgAzine | December 2012



Lleyton Hewitt: Fighting On … and On


Top 10 Aces & Faults of 2012

As Lleyton Hewitt fires up for an Australian summer that he insists won’t be his last, he’s also stepping happily into a role as unofficial mentor to other Australian players.

There were spectacular hits and some colourful misses in a season studded with “I was there” moments.


Marinko Makes His Move


Olivia’s New Highs


The best of the best


Serena’s Stellar Season


An International Affair


December Showdown Special

A surge into the top 50 saw Marinko Matosevic become Australia’s top-ranked man, making him more determined than ever to capitalise on his full potential.

With one personal-best performance following another throughout 2012, Olivia Rogowska has high hopes for the season ahead.

Novak Djokovic provided a powerful reminder of his long-term ability to dominate with a return to world No.1 and victory in the ATP World Tour Final.

After closing out a superb 2012 season with her third WTA Championships title, Serena Williams already has her sights set on a sixth Australian Open victory.

As nations like Belarus, Poland and Kazakhstan set new records, we consider which nations feature prominently in the truly global game.

The young stars of Australian tennis will be working hard to take the next steps in their playing career during the December Showdown at Melbourne Park. AustrAliAn tennis MAgAzine | December 2012


MARINKO MAKES HIS MOVE A year after Marinko Matosevic had to fight to earn a place in the Australian Open, he is not only a top-50 player but also the top-ranked Australian man. Far from satisfied with that position, the determined Matosevic is now eyeing bigger achievements in the year ahead. VIVIENNE CHRISTIE reports


here was a lot at stake when Marinko Matosevic set about claiming a much-needed wildcard at the Australian Open Play-off in 2011. A less-than-stellar season had seen his ranking dip below 200 and with the frustration of that form slump compounded by an ankle injury he’d suffered at the US Open, Matosevic knew that fi nding himself in the same position again would almost certainly spell an end to his professional tennis career. “Last year, after I won the Play-off the emcee asked if I wanted to come back and defend my two Australian Open Play-off titles and I said if I’m here next year there is a good chance I won’t be playing tennis,” the Victorian relates. “I was serious. If I didn’t make top 100 this year I was going to quit for sure.” A year on, and the contrasts in Matosevic’s career couldn’t be more pronounced. Having steadfastly set about securing his place in the tennis world, the 27-year-old recorded his first runnerup appearance at an ATP tournament in Delray Beach and claimed a pair of Challenger titles. Combined with a semifi nal run in Los Angeles and quarter-fi nals in three other ATP events – two of those



as a qualifier – Matosevic not only found himself at a career-high world No.47 by season’s end, but also cast into the spotlight as the top-ranked Australian man. That marquee position was arguably an apt reward for Matosevic’s tenacity in such a dramatic professional turnaround but the Victorian is determined to maintain a humble attitude towards his new status. “Being the No.1 Australian player is a nice achievement, but as long as Lleyton (Hewitt) is playing I still consider him to be No.1 and so does everybody else,” he points out. Such a down-to-earth perspective was also reflected elsewhere. While Matosevic rewarded himself with a short skiing holiday after playing his fi nal 2012 tournament in Switzerland, revelry remained strictly on hold as he considered the hard work still to come. “I’m not going to celebrate my year. I am happy with what I achieved but I am not satisfied and feel like I missed out on a lot of opportunities,” he notes. If that response points to a tendency towards harsh self-assessment it also hints at Matosevic’s awareness of the potential that so far remains unfulfi lled. Given the example he’s set in the past, it’s a wise attitude.

Marinko Matosevic jumped more than 150 ranking places in a season to become Australia’s topranked man.

MARINKO MATOSEVIC FAST FACTS Born: 8 August 1985, Jajce, Bosnia Lives: Melbourne, Victoria Height: 190 cm Coach: Josh Eagle Current (and career-high) ranking: No. 47 Career prize money: $US 687,937 Family: Father Branko, mother Ljubica Favourite player: Marat Safin Hobbies: Include playing football (soccer), basketball and poker At 12 November 2012

In a season of individual highs, Davis Cup has provided the Victorian’s richest rewards.

Born in Jajce, Bosnia, but transplanted to Melbourne with his family at age nine, Matosevic demonstrated an early ability to overcome challenging circumstances. The young Marinko spoke no English at all when he started school in the outer Melbourne suburb but quickly adapted to the difficult situation. “It was pretty good,” he would comment years later. “I really enjoyed my time in school and picked up English within a month.” English wasn’t the only skill that came naturally to Matosevic, whose early sporting talents seemed more suited to

A relative late-starter to tennis at age 10, Matosevic was voted the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the Year at 2012.

personal highs. “A close second is making a tour fi nal and thirdly breaking into the top 50.” That team appreciation is understandable when you consider Matosevic’s early years on tour, which he navigated without a coach. “I did everything on my own and was really struggling,” he says of a period in which he admits there were many tough lessons to absorb. “But probably an even greater challenge has been my mind.” Fortunately there are now some highlyqualified advisors providing support, with

“If I didn’t make top 100 this year I was going to quit for sure.” soccer, in which he represented Victoria in several junior events. He retains a keen interest in that sport but Matosevic is pleased to have directed his attention towards tennis, which fi rst captured his attention at the relatively late age of 10. “I love football (soccer),” he comments now. “I follow it daily and love watching it. I was a decent player but I am glad I stuck with tennis because in football coaches choose you and in tennis it’s up to you as to what will happen in your career.” But while taking responsibility for his own destiny is clearly paying off, Matosevic also thrives in the team setting. “The most special experience this year has been winning a rubber in Davis Cup,” he says of a season that included many

a string of former Australian champions offering critical guidance in recent times. “Todd (Woodbridge) was the fi rst one to believe in me and he guided me initially. Last year I started to work with (Mark) Woodforde and (Josh) Eagle, which was a great eye opener because of what they expected of me,” he explains. “Lastly being involved in Davis Cup last year was a great honour and really helped me and taught me a few harsh lessons and for that I have to thank Rochey (Tony Roche) and Pat (Rafter). “All of these guys have helped me tremendously but I have had my best results with Josh, who is very honest with me and expects a lot from me and he has gotten me over the line in plenty of matches.”

That support could prove vital as Matosevic targets new objectives in the season ahead. “My fi rst goal is to be considered for Davis Cup because not being a part of the last tie really hurt. The second goal is to perform well in a Slam,” he says, while also noting the importance of maintaining full health, “which comes with hard work and a little bit of luck.” Having progressed to ATP quarter-fi nals on hard court, grass and clay throughout 2012, there is no telling where the Victorian might achieve his best major results. Where he’d most like it to be, however, is at the Australian Open, where he is yet to advance beyond the first round in four previous appearances. After pushing 12th seed Marin Cilic to five sets at the most recent US Open, Matosevic will approach that challenge with some confidence. “I am very excited for the Australian summer,” he says. “I haven’t done well the previous few years in Australia and I know it’s not the be-all and end-all to have a great Australian summer but of course I want to do well in front of the Australian public and my family and friends.” It’s the chance to give back that seems to matter most to Matosevic who painstakingly ensures that everybody who has contributed to his most recent success is acknowledged accordingly. “I want to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and everyone who has helped me get where I am now,” he says of a team that includes Eagle as coach, sports psychologist Anthony Klarica, Tennis Australia physical trainer Aaron Kellett and Mark Waters, former trainer of the Woodies, Rafter and Hewitt. Such supporters would be the fi rst to agree that persistence provides its own rewards. Just like Marinko himself, they’d be pleased he stuck out his tennis career for another year. ■



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Australian Tennis Magazine - December 2012  
Australian Tennis Magazine - December 2012  

Lleyton Hewitt: A fighting future